“A shutout against one of the best offenses in the country? I can’t say enough about our defense,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.
Watson starred for the Tigers, running for two scores and throwing for another. He completed 23 of 36 passes for 259 yards. He rushed 15 times for 57 yards.
Clemson led 17-0 at halftime and put the game out of reach with a 7-yard touchdown run by Watson in the third quarter and a 7-yard touchdown run by Wayne Gallman in the fourth.
In the first half, Clemson outgained Ohio State 275-88 and overcame two interceptions thrown by Watson: one to Gareon Conley and one to Malik Hooker. Ohio State failed to score in the first half for the first time since 2011.
The Buckeyes had their chances to take the early momentum. Conley intercepted Watson’s first pass on Clemson’s second play of the game. Ohio State’s offense, showing signs of trouble that would plague it throughout the half, couldn’t get any closer than the 30 and settled for a 47-yard field-goal attempt by Tyler Durbin.
Durbin, who missed his first two field goals in the regular-season finale against Michigan before making the game-tying one in the final seconds to send the game to overtime, missed his first kick in this game. On Ohio State’s next drive, he missed another 47-yard attempt.
Clemson kicker Greg Huegel got the Tigers on the board on their second drive, kicking a 45-yard field goal. The Tigers add to their lead on their next possession, capping a 10-play, 70-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Watson.
Clemson stretched the lead to 17-0 late in the second quarter when Watson threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Fuller.
Ohio State running back Mike Weber carried the ball only one time in the first half, rushing for five yards. On his first carry of the second half, after Ohio State forced a three-and-out from Clemson, he lost a fumble.